Bureau Spectacular named finalist in MoMA PS1 Young Architects Program

Bureau Spectacular's Tower of Twelve Stories installed at Coachella Music Festival, 2016
Bureau Spectacular’s Tower of Twelve Stories installed at Coachella Music Festival, 2016

Bureau Spectacular has been named one of five finalists in the 2017 Young Architects Program presented jointly by The Museum of Modern Art and MoMA PS1. The prestigious program gives emerging architects the opportunity to build a temporary installation in the outdoor courtyard of MoMA PS1’s facility in Long Island City, Queens.

Established in 2000, the objective of the program, according to the MoMA PS1 website is to “provide visitors with an outdoor recreational area for the Summer — a much-needed refuge in an urban environment — making the best use of the pre-existing space and available materials.” The installation also doubles as a backdrop for MoMA PS1’s annual Warm Up series, featuring experimental music, live bands and DJs.

Finalists are nominated by a panel of prominent journalists and academics, and are invited to submit a portfolio of past work for consideration. Upon review, the selection of five is made by Glenn D. Lowry, Director of The Museum of Modern Art; Kathy Halbreich, Associate Director at MoMA; Klaus Biesenbach, Director of MoMA PS1; Peter Reed, Senior Deputy Director for Curatorial Affairs; Martino Stierli, Philip Johnson Chief Curator of Architecture & Design at MoMA, Sean Anderson, Associate Curator of Architecture at MoMA; and Jenny Schlenzka, Associate Curator at MoMA PS1.

The other finalists for this year’s MoMA PS1 Young Architects Program are Ania Jaworska, Office of III (Sean Canty, Ryan Golenberg, and Stephanie Lin), Jenny E. Sabin, and SCHUAM/SHIEH (Rosalyne Shieh and Troy Schaum). The winner will be announced in February, and the annual program will run from June to August of 2017 alongside the Museum’s Warm Up series.

BUREAU SPECTACULAR imagines other worlds and engages the design of architecture through telling stories. Beautiful stories about character development, relationships, curiosities and attitudes; absurd stories about fake realities that invite enticing possibilities. The stories conflate design, representation, theory, criticism, history and taste into cartoon pages. These cartoon narratives swerve into the physical world through architectural installations, models and small buildings. Bureau Spectacular is a group of individuals who practice architecture through the contemplation of art, history, politics, sociology, linguistics, mathematics, graphic design, technology, and storytelling. We often find ourselves at the crossroads of all disciplines, yet comfortably embracing the healthy intersections between the many intellectual human discourses.

JIMENEZ LAI works in the world of art, architecture and education. Previously, Lai lived and worked in a desert shelter at Taliesin and resided in a shipping container at Atelier Van Lieshout on the piers of Rotterdam. Before founding Bureau Spectacular, Lai, who is Canadian-Taiwanese, worked for various international offices, including MOS and OMA. Lai is widely exhibited and published around the world, including the MoMA-collected White Elephant. His first book, Citizens of No Place, was published by Princeton Architectural Press with a grant from the Graham Foundation. Draft II of this book has been archived at the New Museum as a part of the show Younger Than Jesus. Lai has won various awards, including the Architectural League Prize for Young Architects and Debut Award at the Lisbon Triennale. In 2014, Lai designed the Taiwan Pavilion at the 14th Venice Architectural Biennale. In 2015, Lai organized the Treatise exhibition and publication series at the Graham Foundation. Lai will be the subject of an upcoming installation in February 2017 at SFMOMA. 

JOANNA GRANT received her M.Arch from Princeton University. She has worked for architecture offices in Los Angeles, Chicago, Guangzhou, and Shenzhen for a diverse range of internationally renowned firms, including the L.A. based firm, Johnston Marklee & Associates. She has previously worked with Beatriz Colomina on a research projects of couples in architecture, as well as the Danish office ADEPT Architects in their Chinese satellite firm. In 2013 she became a member of Bureau Spectacular, assisting in multiple competitions in which they were awarded honorable mentions or finalists, and the winning proposal for the Taiwan pavilion for the 2014 Venice Biennale. Joanna curates the blog “Cloudzwatching,” which features student design work from schools across the United States. She has contributed to Conditions Magazine and Nova Organa, and recently organized a conference at Princeton University called “& Delight” with Kevin Pazik. Her work has been described as “Takashi Murakami meets Mario Botta.” She likes rainbowy, cute and fluffy architecture. And Postmodernism.